If you look at basic stats, and compare Denard in 2010 to last year and this one, you can't escape the fact that statistically (perhaps not technically) he was a better passer then than he is right now, or last year:
2010: 63% completions, 2600 yards, 11 interceptions, 150 QB rating. (numbers rounded)
2011: 55% completions, 2200 yards, 18 interceptions, 140 QB rating.
2012: 55% completions, 800 yards, 8 interceptions, 130 QB rating.
So as a very raw first year starting QB, after arriving at M without a lot of great HS coaching on QB technique, and with none of the benefits of the subsequent intensive 2 years of QB instruction he has received since Hoke and Borges' arrival, his stats in most areas were better in 2010 than last year or this one. He has worked diligently for two years to correct the flaws in his technique, and looking at film, you see that in most ways his footwork and throwing motion are far improved (his decision making has not improved, or at least not measurably, as we saw Saturday--but it also isn't worse). But his stats, or the outcomes, have not. Why is this?
I'm not claiming to know the answer. Some possible explanations: defenses in 2010 did not yet have "The Denard Rules" down--build a fence around him, force him to beat you from the pocket, etc. The fear of his running then forced them to crowd the line, leaving receivers more open than they are now. Was this actually true? Did they play is differently then? Not sure.
Were our receivers better then? Odoms and Hemingway, are not here, but Roundtree and Gallon still are. Perhaps we can argue that this year the group is not as good, but you can't argue that for last year, when Denard's stats regressed. The O-line? Probably better in 2011 than 2010. Probably marginally worse this year, but again this doesn't seem to explain it. Our defense (a poor defense can negatively impact a team's offense, forcing it to play from behind and get away from the game plan)? Nope, we are better last year and this one. The running game from the RB position? Nope, better now than then. Coaching? I think we can safely say that by reputation, resume, and by observation, Al Borges knows how to coach Quarterbacks. Denard has improved his technique as stated earlier, and by all accounts is also a better leader and QB off the field than he was in 2010. Head coaching? We can all agree we are happy with that, and the results validate that.
That leaves (for me anyway) the question of offensive passing design and strategy. Are the routes and the design of the passing game different now than they were in 2010? The play calls themselves are certainly. Is it true, as some allege, that by design, the route combinations, routes themselves, keys, 1st reads, and the passing game design itself are not optimized to play to Denard's strengths as a passer?
Because it doesn't make sense to me that a senior QB with in his third year has worse results than as a first year sophomore, I have to vote yes on that, with the caveat that I'm not as expert at analyzing those things as some on the board. Or is there an explanation that I'm missing?